GE begins foray into data software
General Electric plans to hire hundreds of IT workers over the next two years and establish a new software centre in an effort to stake a claim in the emerging market for tools to handle the ever growing quantities of electronic data.
The facility in San Ramon, near San Francisco in California, is already under construction and GE expects to take on about 400 staff, ranging from software engineers to marketing experts, by the time the centre is running at full speed in 2013.
The investment represents an interesting gambit for an industrial conglomerate that is perhaps best known for its commercial and industrial products such as aircraft engines, medical scanners and light bulbs.
GE already generates about $2.5bn of its $150bn or so in annual revenues from software sales and employs about 5,000 software professionals scattered throughout its medical, energy and transportation divisions.
The move highlights the growing commercial interest in tools that can make sense of what has become a flood of data generated by everything from industrial equipment stuffed with sensors to consumer products such as refrigerators that are linked to the internet and “smart grid”.
Earlier this year, the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the management consultancy, described “big data” as the “next frontier” that had the potential to trigger a leap in productivity and efficiency in both the public and private sectors.
McKinsey argued that better use of data could unlock $300bn of value annually in the US healthcare sector alone, reducing national healthcare
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